Shack dwellers kept back at gunpoint as 81 homes demolished

Shack dwellers were kept back at gunpoint on Friday as they watched their homes being demolished on private land behind Doornbach informal settlement, GroundUp reports.

About 30 armed police and City of Cape Town law enforcement officers in full riot gear kept the shack owners at bay as the City demolished 81 shacks and loaded the building material onto trucks. Household belongings and furniture were left behind.

Cattle were left to graze on the land which is near Diep River and is considered not suitable for human occupation.

A police officer attempted to prevent GroundUp from taking pictures.

Gaba Mchitasha was shocked that his home was torn down and his building material confiscated. He said he had lived in his shack for three months; it had been spared during previous demolitions. He used to rent a shack in the Doornbach informal settlement but he could no longer afford to pay rent.

"This is the third time they have come to demolish our homes. They did not produce anything to show us the legality of their action," said Mchitasha.

Another land occupier, Siyabulela Binta, said she had taken out a R5 000 loan to build her three-room shack.

Sisonke Nxuseka said she was no longer going to vote in the coming general elections.

"They will come to ask us to vote, but we have no place to stay and we don't have jobs," she said.

The City directed all questions to the office of the sheriff of the court, Cape Town North.

An administrator at the sheriff's office, Melinda Galant, said: "We had a court order to remove the shacks. We were accompanied by the City's law enforcement and Table View police officers … It's a continuous court order and has been served numerous times."